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Flashcards in Macbeth Deck (14)
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First impression of Macbeth

We first hear of Macbeth in the wounded captains account of his battlefield bravery, our initial impression is of a brave warrior


Macbeth with the witches

His physical courage is joined by ambition and self doubt


Macbeth getting told he will be king

Prediction brings him joy but also turmoil


How is Macbeth presented as weak

Through his character we are shown what happens when ambition and guilt consume a character who is to a degree quite weak


‘If chance may have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir’

Repetition of chance sets up the themes of fate vs free will
Macbeth’s weak defends against his imagination is clear here
Chance may have crown him but the subjunctive mood of ‘may’: chance may take care of business, but then again, macbeth may still have to do it himself


‘Will all Neptune’s ocean wash this blood from my hand?’

Reference to god
He cannot he helped- interesting link to act 5 of lady macbeth.
This symbolic representation of guilt. Reminds us how power and over ambition has corrupted


‘O full of scorpions is my mind’

Scorpions have bad eyesight linking to how macbeth cannot see the consequences of his actions
In some cultures they believed the scorpion carried the soul from life to death
Scorpions inflict pain and therefore he is aware that his ambition is in fact harming him in the flip side of that is also gives him power to be corrupt and inflict pain on others
Scorpion as a spirit guide created a change in consciousness. Scorpion represents Macbeth’s stream of consciousness


‘We have scotch’d the snake not killed it’

‘Scotch’ is to slice , cut , gore
By killing banquo they have not solved anything as fleance escapes- in this image the idea is that the snake will return
You could argue that there is a subtle link to the hydra as when you cut of the hydras heads off two more grow in its place- the problem worsens.
Links to lady macbeth form earlier ‘serpent’


‘Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs’

Disturbing for macbeth to have to watch this parade of the ghost of banquo and his descendants set before him by the 3 witches. Macbeth’s emotional reaction to the vision shows how uncomfortable he feels on the Scottish throne, despite the enormous power he wields


‘So foul and fair a day I have not seen’

Clear paradox- echoes the words of the witches suggesting they will influence him
Foul and fake present the upcoming events his character will face
Witches say ‘fair is foul and foul is fair’ more balanced represents deception- they will deceive macbeth
Ambition is good value and characteristic but Macbeth’s overusing ambition is evil


‘We will proceed no further in this business’

Language now mirrors her suggesting a unison between the two. He uses ‘business’ to the murder- euphemism same as Lady M. Suggests denial


‘Brave’ ‘noble macbeth’

Connotations of respect and someone admired
‘Noble’ constitutes to hereditary class that has a special status pertaining to the aristocracy
It is this morality which wavers at the outlining of the prophecies and Lady Macbeth’s influence


King Duncan- ‘what he hath lost noble macbeth hath won’

King Duncan refers to the older thane of Cawdor to being a traitor and is about to give macbeth it instead. Ironic. This shows appearance is reality
Semantic lexical field of winning and loosing juxtaposed. This hints that fortune and fate may change suddenly. The words also echo the witches
Macbeth Shown as good solider and loyal to Duncan in this scene


‘Black and deep desires’

Macbeth’s ambition described which makes it sound evil and malicious perhaps supernatural.
The question is whether we should let fate dictate our future.
Reference to hidden desires links to the consciences vs the subconscious
‘Deep’ references to subconscious suggests something suppressed as though witches tapped into something ominous
Adjective ‘black’ linked to gothic death
‘Deep’ links with black sound malevolent